Archive for April, 2013

A Time to Mourn

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Rogier_van_der_Weyden-_Deposition_-_Mourning_Woman;_detail

I haven’t posted here in awhile, my April schedule being incredibly busy. I’ve had places to go and more than enough to do. Monday’s bombings in Boston, however, called me, however briefly, out of my stale self-absorption. When events like this happen – at least when they happen to Americans – public officials and news industry personalities often call them “tragedies,” a term with classical associations that suggests something edifying might be found within. Soon enough, such events acquire a shorthand title, often recalling a location, such as “Columbine,” or “Newtown,” or a date, like “9/11.” People who had no direct connection to what transpired remember where they were when they heard the news. Many draw morals or warnings in the remembered events and find it necessary to share them. All too often, those morals curiously resemble our own thoughts, sentiments, and assumptions, however reconfigured in the latest sadness. And then, life happens, schedules take over, and all but the directly suffering move on.

I could, right now, present my case that events in Boston invite us to remember our perpetual vulnerability and to abandon the strangely resilient myth of American exceptionalism. I could do that, but that would be too much like a sermon, and does nothing for those who are grieving today. Finding morals in so-called tragedies may have a place, but the effort looks too much like theodicy for my comfort. (more…)